In Montpellier, parents are fighting for the right to home school

In Montpellier, parents are fighting for the right to home school

En juin 2022, on comptait 71 700 enfants scolarisés à domicile, soit environ 0,5 % des élèves en France. Midi Libre – DORIAN CAYUELA

Une cinquantaine de parents et enfants se sont réunis ce mardi 25 juin devant le rectorat de l’académie de Montpellier pour manifester contre le durcissement du régime de l’instruction en famille (IEF).

In front of the Montpellier rectorate, children scribble on the paving stones with chalk. A few meters away, their parents hold up placards. Around fifty people gathered on Tuesday, June 25, to protest against the tightening of the home education (IEF) regime. “Don't force me, respect my choice“, proclaims one of the signs in capital letters.

An annual application to complete

Since the start of the school year in September 2022, home education has been subject to an authorization regime issued by the academies, in accordance with the law against separatism of August 24, 2021. The stated objective: to fight against closed-circuit education, far from the principles of the Republic. Previously, a simple declaration to the town hall and the reference academy was enough to homeschool your children, followed by an annual check.

Families must now justify their annual request by choosing one of the four available reasons: child's health or disability, intensive sporting or artistic activities, family homelessness or geographical distance, existence of a situation specific to the child motivating the educational project.

In Montpellier, parents are fighting for the right to home school

Around fifty parents and children gathered in front of the Montpellier rectorate on June 25. Midi Free – DORIAN CAYUELA

Cédric has chosen family education for Sullivan, his 11-year-old son. This year, like many parents, it is the first time that he has completed a family education application file. A period of two years (2022-2023 and 2023-2024) was granted to families who received a positive test from the academy during the 2021-2022 school year. 60~/p>

"He had been homeschooled for seven years. Everything was going well. Our controls were always excellent. And now this year, we have been refused our request!", complains the father of the family. Next to him, Sullivan clenches his fists. "It’s as if my file had not been read", blurted out the child, his eyebrows furrowed.

"We will go to court "

Following this refusal, Cédric files a compulsory prior administrative appeal (RAPO). "The result must be communicated to us on July 5. In the meantime, we are worried. Home schooling places the child at the center of education. Everything is done so that he learns as best as possible. We follow the national education program", insists Cédric.

What about the isolation of children?"Sullivan is not locked up at home, quite the contrary. Once he has finished his lessons, he has time to go do activities and meet other children".

Like Cédric, Clara*, mother of two children aged 10 and 13, saw her request refused by the rectorate. His younger brother’s file is accepted. The eldest is ordered to return to the classroom. An incomprehensible decision for the mother. "I cry every night. My child is also very unhappy", she assures. And to add: "We just have a laconic refusal sentence, to a file of more than fifty pages. This is not a valid justification. We are ready to do anything to win our case, even to go to court if necessary.

The feeling of playing the lottery

Maud chose home education for her two children aged 8 and 10 in 2020, after Covid. "Doing school at home during confinement has reinforced our desire for education as a family. The risk of radicalization linked to the model exists, but it concerns a tiny minority of children. Above all, it is not on the basis of a written document that we will be able to judge this danger", she denounces.

According to the Collective of the Montpellier Academy for Family Education, the refusals of files would be massive. "The rectorate refuses to communicate the exact figures. Extremely well-crafted files are rejected, without real justifications, denounces Maud, member of the collective . We even ask bullied children to return to school. It feels like playing the lottery.

Sophie Béjean, rector of the Montpellier academy reacts

"We received a delegation of parents within the rectorate & the continuation of this demonstration. We explained it to them again. that the law has changed. It is not enough to say that we want our child to benefit from family education for their application to be accepted. There is no automation. Each case is handled by professionals. There are refusals, and there will be more. Appeals are also possible, and will be accepted if additional elements allow a ruling in their favor. We ensure à the best interests of the child."

*The first name has been changed at the request of the interested party. I subscribe to read more

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